Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
  Student Mentoring  

Student Mentoring

    Cabrillo Marine Aquarium's Young Scientist Program is run by Aquatic Nursery staff members who are involved in aquaculture, animal development and coastal monitoring research. Staff and students work together to study threatened and endangered species and share research results with visitors.

The research mentoring program teaches students how to design and set up research projects to achieve a better understanding of southern California's marine life. Several student researchers have placed very high at local, county and state science fairs, and some students have received top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The Young Scientist Program received the 2013 Top Honors Award for Education from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
  How to Apply
Please note that there are only a limited number of student researcher positions available each year. To apply for the summer 2015 Young Scientists Program, attend the next Research Program Icebreaker.

Research Program Icebreaker
Sunday, May 10, 2015, 10am-3pm

There are typically two research cycles each year, one in the summer and another starting in September. Each research cycle begins with a Research Program Icebreaker to give CMA staff an opportunity to meet new applicants and conduct interviews during a proposal workshop. Paperwork provided at the Research Program Icebreaker serves as an application to the Young Scientists Program.

Young Scientists Symposium
Sunday, March 15 2015, 3pm-7pm

Each year during March, CMA hosts the Young Scientists Symposium to highlight student research projects and to bring together scientists of all ages to talk about their shared love of science with the public. Poster sessions and demonstrations take place in the Susanne Lawrenz-Miller Exhibit Hall and are open for visitors to meet the students and learn more about CMA’s Young Scientists Program. Student presentations are held in the John M. Olguin Auditorium.

Student Research Rules and Requirements
To participate in CMA's student research program, students must be high school or college level and become an Aquarium volunteer. This requires application approval and a background check by the City of Los Angeles.  Research support volunteer positions are also available for students at middle school level and up. This is a great way to get experience in preparation for the Young Scientists Program.

Students who have not worked with Aquarium animals must undergo animal husbandry training as a volunteer before submitting a proposal for studying animals in the facility. This process can take up to three months. New students matched to the program from the Icebreaker may submit proposals for field monitoring research conducted outside of the Aquarium. We expect all of our scientists to commit to at least one day a week for at least three months to conduct investigations with us. Some research projects demand more hours, so actual schedules vary.

You Should Know…
  • Only non-invasive experiments on Southern California marine life can be hosted in the Aquatic Nursery laboratory.
  • Field projects can be conducted by student on their own time with their own equipment.
  • CMA staff conducts safety and equipment training including proper handling of animals in the wild and permit regulations.
  • All projects should potentially help an animal to thrive in the wild.
Do you want to learn more?
Do you want to become a researcher?